NI lobby group launched for pedigree herds

Pedigree cattle breeders across Northern Ireland are encouraged to voice their concerns to a trust launched specifically to represent their sector amid the increasing turbulence and uncertainty of Brexit.

The Pedigree Cattle Trust (PCT) intends to be a “unified and powerful voice” to fight the corner of all pedigree beef and dairy breeders, with Brexit among seven key areas of focus.

The trust will work for the country’s 2,500+ pedigree beef and dairy herds through co-operation and partnership with local government agencies, veterinarians, retailers, processors and politicians.

See also: Boy, four, killed in farm accident in Northern Ireland

Speaking at the PCT’s official launch at Balmoral Show on Wednesday (10 May), trust spokesperson Brian Walker said the trust aimed to provide a “comprehensive overview of the cattle industry”.

Part of the trust’s function would be specifically to represent the concerns of the pedigree farmer, rather than the commercial focus of other established organisations, a source told Farmers Weekly.

Specific concerns would relate to livestock compensation following mandatory destruction of cattle and the valuation of stock.

Mr Walker outlined seven key areas of focus:

  1. Policy
  2. Disease control
  3. Animal identification and rules
  4. Welfare
  5. Movement of cattle
  6. Genomics and selection of top livestock
  7. Brexit implications, including future trading implications

Comprehensive overview

Mr Walker called on farmers to speak out, adding: “We need a comprehensive overview of what is important to pedigree cattle farmers here. We would value hearing about farmer experiences and of any issues that they would like to be addressed by the Pedigree Cattle Trust.”

“As pedigree breeders, we are dedicated to improving the quality, genetics and marketability of our animals. Not only do we depend on them for our livelihood, but the standard of our local herds is also vital to the interests of the processors, retailers and, ultimately, the consumers.

He said traceability, while well recognised, must be enhanced to take into account consumer needs.

He added that accessing testing history information online was paramount to industry progression and is something that must come through “close working relationships with government”.

Farmers can voice their opinions by contacting